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The Frenchman’s Finest Burger with Herbs De Provence and Goat Cheese

It is no secret that France is considered the culinary capital of the world. It also comes as no surprise that the All-American burger as we know it, with it’s typical slathering of catsup and mustard, would seem a bit out of place among the gourmet fare of the highly sophisticated pallet of a Frenchman. It’s humorously ironic that America’s choice for a side dish to our favorite grill food is the “French fry” or Pommes Frites if you will, the very inspiration for this recipe. Finally, a burger worthy of its European sidekick. An all beef burger, that although is a twist on the American classic, draws it’s very essence from the classic cuisine that started it all, French cuisine. Bursting with fresh herbs from the Provence region of southern France, authentic mustard from Dijon in Eastern France, and the finest sea salt in all the world, hand-harvested only in-you guessed it- France, this burger is an American dream that even a Frenchman would be proud serve. Just one more thing, born and raised in a suburb of Chicago, I couldn't resist sneaking in the sweet, simple taste of a Midwest apple orchard. The apple jelly serves as the perfect compliment to the tangy zing of the goat cheese. See for yourself…Bon Appetit!

Ingredients 

2# Ground Chuck
2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Fresh Ground Poivre Rose (Pink Peppercorns) OR Fresh Ground Black Pepper
2 Tbls. Fresh Basil Leaves, finely chopped
2 Tbls. Fresh Thyme Leaves 2
Tbls. Fresh Marjoram Leaves, finely chopped
1 ½ Tbls. Dried Lavender Flowers, finely chopped
½ c. Sutter Home Cabernet Sauvignon
6 Sturdy Stalks Fresh Rosemary
1- 5oz to 6oz log of Peppered OR Plain Chevre (French Goat Cheese)
Vegetable oil for brushing grill
1/2 c. Apple Jelly
2 Tbls. authentic Dijon Mustard
5 Tbls. Salted Butter
6 Large Brioche Rolls OR Other Soft Egg Dough Rolls
¼ c. Fleur De Sel de Camague (French Sea Salt) OR Other Coarse Sea Salt
2 fingers Endive

Instructions 

Prepare a medium-high temperature charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill to medium-high. Place Ground Chuck in a large mixing bowl. Add Salt, Poivre Rose, Basil, Thyme, Marjoram, Lavender, and Sutter Home Cabernet Sauvignon. Set aside. Remove all the leaves from each Rosemary stalk except ½” from the top. Set stalks aside for garnish. Finely chop 2 Tbls. of the Rosemary leaves and add to beef mixture. (Discard extra leaves or reserve for another recipe.) Mix beef gently with hands until all ingredients are incorporated, being careful not to over mix or compress. Divide beef mixture into 12 balls and press down to form ½” thick patties. Cut Goat Cheese Log into 6 slices and place 1 slice into the center of 6 of the patties. Top each of the goat cheese patties with another beef patty and press down around edges to seal. Brush grate of grill with Vegetable Oil to prevent patties from sticking. Place each patty over direct heat to seal in juices. With grill lid closed, cook for 4 minutes. While burgers are cooking, place Apple Jelly in small pan on grill, or side burner*, cook and stir until melted. Add Dijon Mustard and stir until incorporated. Remove from heat and set aside. After 4 minutes is up, flip each burger and cook for another 5 minutes with grill lid closed. During second 5 minutes of cooking, melt butter in small pan on grill or side burner*. Slice each Brioche roll in half, brush all insides, then tops with melted butter, then generously sprinkle each top with Fleur De Sel. Set aside. When burgers are done, remove each patty to indirect heat while the buns are prepared. Turn grill to medium low setting. Place buns, cut sides down on grill and toast for approx. 2 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and spread each inside bottom and top of Brioche with 1 Tbls. each of the Apple/Dijon Mixture, place patty on bottom half, then top with 2-3 Endive leaves and the buttered Fleur De Sel Brioche top. Skewer each burger with 1 prepared stalk of Rosemary. Light the top leaves with a lighter to create a wonderful aroma! Serve immediately. *If you are cooking on a grill without a side burner, and you are using the grill top to cook Apple/Dijon mixture and to melt the butter, please add approximately 2 minutes each side more to your cooking time since the grill lid will need to remain open. This is an edited version of the original "Frenchman's Finest Burger" recipe entered on July 7 2006. I added some ingredient options in case the French ingredients are difficult to find for the non-internet shopper in some parts of the country. Everything else is exactly the same as the first delicious version-hahahaa...enjoy!